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Harm Reduction: Drug Czar's Office Opposes Letting Heroin Users Have Easy Access to Overdose Antidote

When heroin users around Philadelphia started overdosing on junk laced with fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opiate, a local harm reduction group began working with a sympathetic physician to provide addicts prescriptions to naloxone (brand name Narcan). The Office of National Drug Control Policy thinks that's a bad idea.

In many cities, paramedics carry Narcan with them, but by the time they arrive on the scene, it can be too late, explained Casey Cook, executive director of Prevention Point Philadelphia, the group that runs the city's needle exchange program. "If people have to rely on paramedics, more often than not, the overdose is going to be fatal, just because of the amount of time for people to get there," she told the Associated Press in an interview last Friday.

But the drug czar's office is worried that providing addicts with the means to survive an overdose would prove "disinhibiting," much the same way social conservatives argue that providing teenagers with condoms to prevent pregnancy and disease "disinhibits" them from remaining abstinent. ONDCP doesn't want to appear to condone drug use. "We don't want to send the message out that there is a safe way to use heroin," said Jennifer DeVallance, an ONDCP spokesperson told the AP.

There were some 16,000 drug-related deaths reported in 2002, the vast majority of them involving either heroin or prescription opiates, and at least 400 people have died in the wave of fentanyl-related heroin ODs in the past few months. Better they should die than people think heroin is safe, huh?

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Killer drug jihad warriors

This refusal to allow heroin users to have naloxone is a good example of the fanaticism and cruelty of the drug war jihadis. Just another way drug prohibition kills. Make no mistake, it also kills, metaphorically speaking, the unity of the people of the United States (pun optional).

fentanyl

Every government enforcing the war on "some drugs" has to walk a fine line between providing accurate information on the drug and condoning it. This is just terrible that all these lives will be lost just so they can keep up the image that heroin is dangerous. But hey, they're just junkies right?

I have been a heroin addict for 10 years, the whole time keeping a good job and supporting my family. Oh no! what if the information gets out that people can use heroin long-term without ruining their lives? Wouldn't that hurt your propaganda image of heroin? better come kill me now.

Typical right wing asshattery

This is typical Christian right wing asshattery. It would seem they would rather see addicts die or be abused by the cowards and sociopaths of the DEA. Like the above poster I functioned perfectly well for 13 years while maintaining an opium habit. I built up a business and was well respected in the community where I lived. I have known many fully productive well adjusted addicts in my lifetime but all of them lived in abject fear of being found out. Pretty pathetic for a supposedly free country. It is no one else's business what intoxicants I choose to use in my own home period!

There's the proof

[email protected],Vancouver,B.C.CanadaThere is a man who is keeping it together on heroin while it's illegal and there is an army of people out there trying to ruin his life.This is why heroin maintenance works so well where it is practiced.The one thing that will bring him down is if he gets caught with the drug in his possession.That is why it is not the drugs that ruin peoples lives it is the drug laws.People who can't handle the drug they use would then go for treatment,like the people who can't handle alcohol,which has given me more problems in my 41 years than all the heroin I've done.I do not recommend that anyone try to do the balancing act that our friend is doing.I have lost 12 years of my life to law enforcement and it has accomplished exactly nothing.While I do not deal any more there are gangs of far worse people that took my place.I was a pussycat,in comparison.

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